Nancy Saavedra CEO, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Art Boulle, a company specializing in ornamental and architectural metal and woodwork. Nancy Saavedra studied at the Toronto School of Business where she obtained her Business Diploma specializing in International Business. Nancy Saavedra has featured in several magazines from Dolce Vita Luxury Magazine, Home Front Magazine, and Living Luxe Magazine. Her most recent issue for Living Luxe Magazine featured Nancy Saavedra on the front cover along with 6 of Toronto’s most talented and influential designers of 2020. Nancy Saavedra has completed projects all over the world, from Toronto, New York and Miami, to London, Dubai, and beyond.
Please tell us a little about your background and your journey.
I was born in a city called Cuenca in Ecuador. I came to Canada when I was five years old. I’m the daughter of a landed immigrant who came to find a better future for his family. We were a middle-class family with many dreams and aspirations. My parents worked very hard to provide for us so we could have better opportunities. Growing up in Toronto I studied Business Management. We didn’t go back to Ecuador until I was 17 for vacation. This trip ended up changing everything – I met the love of my life. This is where my journey and my love for design began. While living in Cuenca Ecuador for 18 years, the city played an important role in my development for my design career. I remember going into the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception of Cuenca and I was awestruck by the details – the marble columns, the intricate floors, the massive wood doors. There was so much beauty in the detailed work of the cobblestone streets and colonial buildings.
While reading a magazine I read an article about Mireya Dalma, a famous interior designer and entrepreneur who built her company from scratch. I decided to get in contact with her as I was so intrigued by her work. She agreed to meet me and I flew in on a weekend, the moment I met her our chemistry was instant, she became my coach, mentor, and a very close friend who I am so grateful for. She welcomed me to her factory where she produced the most outstanding and intricate interior products. I fell in love with iron and metalwork, and the outstanding artisanal craftsmanship capabilities that Ecuador presented for the world of design.
I always dreamt of opening a showroom in Toronto to showcase the amazing craftsmanship of these artists. Years later, Miraya and I partnered to bring these products to the Canadian market. My husband, a recognized pharmacist in Ecuador, left everything so I can pursue my dream. We packed our bags and brought our family of two kids back to Toronto. My husband and I co-founded Art Boulle, a company which today is recognized as a leading luxury brand specializing in artisanal metalwork and woodwork and in house design services. Today our works adorn luxury homes all over the world, from New York and Miami to London, Dubai and beyond.
What have you learned about yourself since you became a successful entrepreneur?
Perseverance is everything and I am stronger than what I thought. Confidence in oneself is so important. I learned that when there’s an obstacle or challenge, to not take it as a drawback but to take it as a learning experience. It’s important to fall and learn from your mistakes. The journey has taught me invaluable things.
How has achieving celebrity status changed your perspective towards life in general?
While growing my business I encountered many people who did not support me. As a result, my perspective is that not everyone is going to support your vision, so it’s important to always believe in yourself and never let others put you down.
What is one thing you love about being an entrepreneur?
I love the ability to create my own opportunities and be able to design and develop products that I love. I enjoy empowering and motivating others to achieve their goals and dreams.
Do you feel you have achieved everything you’ve ever wanted in life?
Even though there are many things to still be accomplished, I have achieved my goals and the only thing I wish for is to leave a legacy for my future generation.
What accomplishment of yours are you most proud of?
One of the accomplishments that I’m most proud of was to have been recognized in Living Living Luxe Magazine as one of Toronto’s most influential designers of 2020.
If there was one thing you have to give up to get to an even better place than you are now, what would it be?
I would give up the fear of failure because it prevents us from taking action and putting our creation out in the world.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
I like to spend my spare time with my family, those moments are so precious to me. Spending time with family motivates and recharges me.
What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done in your life?
Having left everything behind in Ecuador to come and pursue a dream in Canada.
What advice would you give to your younger self and to your fans who are reading this interview?
Everything is possible in life when you have a dream and you’re really passionate about something, don’t let anybody put you down no matter how many times the doors close. Get back up and continue because that dream and that goal is right around the corner. The journey is never easy, believe me, I’ve been there, but just keep pushing. Life is so fragile don’t forget to take moments to love, laugh and dance as much as you can.